A new report by the Casey Foundation highlights that while two-generation approaches — efforts to create opportunities for parents and children together — have evolved and improved as a promising strategy to interrupt intergenerational poverty, gaps in the research base are hindering progress in bringing the best efforts to scale. The report offers recommendations on how public and private funders can target their evaluation and funding strategies to build evidence demonstrating which approaches and components work best; what kinds of research funders should support; and how to communicate evidence-based findings effectively to inform program leaders and policymakers.
Funders can make a major contribution to building the evidence base for two-generation strategies
Findings & Stats
Studies have shown that children are adversely affected when their parents experience economic hardship, and, conversely, parents’ ability to succeed in their educational and workforce pursuits is often contingent upon access to supports for their children.
There is growing evidence from the current wave of two-generation programs — Two Generation 2.0 — showing promising results, such as a 2016 independent evaluation of 20 Barbara Bush Foundation Family Literacy Programs across the country.
A two-generation outcomes study on improving the wellbeing of mothers and their children showed that a significant number of the mothers earned Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees and got jobs with “livable wages,” and 93% of their children performed at or above grade level in school.
Statements & Quotations
The field has grown and learned much since the earliest forays into two-generation approaches….yet many key questions vital to the success and growth of these approaches remain unanswered — and in some cases, unasked.
With a clear understanding of gaps, a strong dose of intentionality and a willingness to collaborate, funders have the unique opportunity to significantly strengthen the foundation of the two-generation evidence base and move closer to realizing the potential of these approaches to strengthen families and lift them out of poverty.
The field as a whole will miss opportunities to advance if more attention and critical resources are not devoted to strategic investments that can help fill these gaps in knowledge through rigorous evaluations.